George X. Fu, a rising-star pianist who has claimed prizes at national and international competitions, made an impression when he first joined the North Carolina Symphony on stage at a Summerfest concert at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary in June 2017.
Audience members were impressed by his technical mastery in the Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 2 and Classical Voice of North Carolina praised his “delicate precision.”
Fu returns to the North Carolina Symphony for two programs—April 19 at Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines and April 20 at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh—led by the Symphony’s newly appointed Associate Conductor, Wesley Schulz.
Fu will perform one of Mozart’s most popular piano concertos, the Piano Concerto No. 23. In its opening movement, the concerto reveals ingenious interplay of two contrasting themes, and throughout, it takes listeners on an emotional journey, with the intensity of the second movement giving way to a sprightly finale.
“In the Piano Concerto No. 23, I love how the heart-tugging sadness of the second movement melts away in the joy of the third movement,” says Elizabeth Beilman, Associate Principal Cello. “The music of Mozart has always brought a smile to my face; what has changed over time for me is a deepening appreciation for the deceptive simplicity of the music.”
Also deceptively simple, Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro is, at the surface, the comical story of one crazy day in the home of a count and countess—but is revered for its underlying profound revelations of human nature.
The Overture to The Marriage of Figaro (which will be performed at the Southern Pines concert only) captures the spirit of the opera—scurrying string passages that call to mind mischief and whispering conspirators, while festive trumpets evoke humor and youthful spirit.
Mendelssohn himself was still in his youth—just 20 years old—when he began work on his Symphony No. 3, “Scottish.” The first ideas came to him while on a tour of Scotland, taking in the moody landscapes, majestic castles, and the famous sea cave of the Hebrides, Fingal’s Cave. And, although Mendelssohn claimed to despise folk music, the influence of Scottish folk melodies is clear—with “Scottish snap” rhythms and all! Mendelssohn took 13 years to complete the symphony, and this masterpiece was well worth the wait.
“Mendelssohn’s Third Symphony is the perfect piece to hear in the springtime,” says NCS French horn Rachel Niketopoulos. “This intensely exuberant music is so evocative of nature.”
Ticket holders are invited to meet pianist George X. Fu at a 7pm talk before the Southern Pines performance, and to learn more about the music of Mozart and Mendelssohn at an 11am talk before the noontime Raleigh performance.
North Carolina Symphony
Mozart & Mendelssohn
Thursday, April 19 at 8pm
Pinecrest High School (Southern Pines)
Friday, April 20 at 12pm
Meymandi Concert Hall
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts (Raleigh)
North Carolina Symphony
Wesley Schulz, conductor
George X. Fu, piano
Mozart: Overture to The Marriage of Figaro*
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 23
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3, “Scottish”
*Southern Pines performance only
TICKETS start at $18
Online: ncsymphony.org (TicketMaster fees apply)
By phone: 919.733.2750 or toll free 877.627.6724 ($8 processing fee applies)